Swinging back to the critiquing the expert, your humble servant was 6th in total scoring in the BigDSoccer league. It wasn't an incredible performance, but it's nothing to sneeze at either. There's 2 more months and 8 more game weeks to make up the stagger or go for the prize. There's unlimited transfers this week, so let's get started.
FC Dallas rebounded from a 3 game losing streak to defeat Real Salt Lake last week 2-0. Last week's FC Dallas pick in this space, Jesse Gonzalez (8 points last week, $4.1), kept a clean sheet and was composed and impressive in not biting on Javier Morales's penalty approach and forcing a weak shot off the post. The win elevated Dallas from just above the red line to 3rd in the West and tied with table-leading LA Galaxy in points per game. It's insane how competitive the Western Conference is this year.
We're not at the must win point of the season, but to make a serious push at the Supporters' Shield, FC Dallas is going to need to take some points on the road. Of their 5 remaining home games, Columbus ranks just ahead of Real Salt Lake as far as the lowest degree of difficulty before you subtract the massive number of international absences (30% of Crew's total minutes this year an includes Kei Kamara). Add in the injuries to Federico Higuain, Kristinn Steindorsson, Sergio Campbell, and Emanuel Pogatetz, and Columbus comes into this game thin and aching.
Drops: Fabian Castillo M ($4.0)- He finally got his (well-deserved) call up to the senior Colombia National Team. Huge congratulations- drop him.
Adds: Michael Barrios M ($4.0), Kellyn Acosta D ($6.2), and Otis Earle ($4.0)- Make no mistake, if Mauro Diaz shows up to play tomorrow, he could be huge with all of Columbus's absences. Honestly, I can't think of a better game to get him broken back into the team than in Columbus. That said, the team may decide to play it safe and save Mauro for the home match against NYCFC.
Barrios comes in averaging 6.5 over the last 5, and he's cemented himself in the starting lineup. For a road game, this is actually a decent spot for a shutout, and Acosta offers bonus, assist, and goal potential as well. Might he play as an attacker this game with Cirigliano coming into form?
Earle looks like caperoo fodder now that he's, what, 4th on the depth chart at left back? 5th on the depth chart? You can feel confident using him as cheap filler and for the swap.
There's unlimited transfers this week since there are only 10 teams playing due to the international break. If you have a wild card to play, you're playing for best score this week. If, however, you've already burned your wild card, you'll want to look ahead to weeks 28-31 to find value this week that will translate in the weeks ahead. With that in mind, I'll balance that consideration and also suggest some matchups that are specifically exploitable this week.
Picks to click:
Quincy Amarikwa (6.9) F- I've banged the drum for him here previously. 5.6 ppg over his last 5 and 6 ppg over his last 8. He's cheap caperoo magic, and he's got a DGW in week 29. He's not headed to the bench anytime soon because San Jose has been the hottest team in MLS.
David Bingham (5.8) G- Sticking with the hot hand here, and why not? Actually, you're taking a slight risk here because you're missing Godoy in the midfield this week, but I think they'll hold up fine against Philly, who is missing Maidana through suspension and Edu through injury. He's got another home game next week, the aforementioned DGW, and he'll pair well with Evan Bush ($5.1) through week 32.
Ignacio Piatti (10.4) M- Montreal is pushing a for a playoff spot, and you're getting some minutes over the next month. Chicago isn't a juggernaut on defense under normal circumstances, and even though Sean Johnson has been playing great, the Fire on the road without Matt Polster and Joevin Jones look prime for a beating. If Didier Drogba (10.0) starts, I'm bringing him in, too.
Seattle Sounders- all of them. What was the point of keeping Michael Bradley around for this game? Without Giovinco and Altidore this week, I have no idea who scores for Toronto. With Clint Dempsey ($11.7) coming back into the fold, you can't go wrong with Seattle this week. Toronto isn't great on defense either- this could get very ugly.
I'll be posting my lineup at about 6 pm CDT if you're curious. I'm very interested to see who Montreal starts tonight.
Update: Oniel Fisher costs $4.4 and has been a regular at left back. Good buy there. Montreal's attack is whole, so I'm betting big on them tonight.